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Posing for Obamacare

Monday February 24th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:09am PST   •  

CoveredCalifornia_200As Obamacare continues to fail its apologists look to state exchanges such as California’s for signs of success. There might be a couple but this report does a decent job of finding failure.

“The state health insurance exchange’s online enrollment portal remains down because of a software malfunction that has dogged consumers,” says the report. Three days earlier on Feb. 19 Covered Cal bosses “took the enrollment offline.” They didn’t go into detail about the problems, so they probably don’t know what they are. But they are not new. “experienced computer and phone troubles while accepting applications to train health insurance agents, and then with the launch of the sign-up portal.” And earlier this month, “officials were forced to temporarily discontinue the exchange’s provider directory after complaints about errors in the physician list.” Covered California boss Peter Lee said “it was put online prematurely.” So like the rest of Obamacare, they knew it was a bust but went ahead with it anyway. But as we noted, Covered California does succeed as a cushy landing spot for washed up government officials.

Covered California is paying Ana Matosantos, California’s former director of finance, $20,000 a month to advise the state exchange on “financial sustainability and budgeting issues, and evaluation analytics.” Matosantos was evidently unable to evaluate the site’s problems, much less do anything to correct them. That comes as no surprise since she was unqualified and incompetent in her previous job.

Covered California faces a budget shortfall of $78 million but still spent $1.37 million on an outreach video featuring Richard Simmons. The young people they want to reach likely don’t know who this guy is, and wouldn’t care if they did But all Americans can thank Simmons for demonstrating the posture Obamacare wants everyone to assume. Robert Downey Jr. demonstrates the same pose in this movie scene, with appropriate dialogue.

So as a cash cow and Obamacare symbol Covered California may be better than Oregon’s exchange. Last November it had received more than $305 million in federal funds and launched an aggressive advertising campaign. Not a single person signed up and Cover Oregon’s boss told legislators he doubted the website would ever work. Now Oregon contemplates taking down their dysfunctional website and hooking up to the federal exchange. Good luck with that.

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February 2014